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This Just In: Federal Policy Reinforces Segregation

July 3, 2017

This will be a very short post, because the substance of the today’s headline article by John Eligon, Yamiche Alcindor, and Agustin Armendariz in the New York Times supports the disturbing headline of this post. These two paragraphs summarize the findings of these investigative reports:

A review of federal data by The New York Times found that in the United States’ biggest metropolitan areas, low-income housing projects that use federal tax credits — the nation’s biggest source of funding for affordable housing — are disproportionately built in majority nonwhite communities.

What this means, fair-housing advocates say, is that the government is essentially helping to maintain entrenched racial divides, even though federal law requires government agencies to promote integration.

This well researched article illustrates the roadblocks the Housing Department faces when it attempts to locate housing in affluent areas and the paradoxical reaction of some elected officials— including Sylvester Turner, the African American mayor of Houston who supported those who protested the location of a low income housing project in a relatively affluent neighborhood. Instead of trying to locate the project in a middle class neighborhood, he favored placement in the low income area of town. Why?

“I don’t think the right message to be sending to kids in low-income families is that the only way they can succeed is that they have to move into affluent communities to do that,” he said.

Instead, Mr. Turner has strongly advocated investing in black and Latino communities that lack resources, saying new housing could be one tool to help improve them.

Mr. Turner’s argument would have some traction if the choice those low income neighborhoods GOT additional resources… but that is never the case. And who suffers? The children who cannot get the same opportunities in underfunded schools in those underfunded neighborhoods.

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